Smiles for Survivors Charity Winners – The Champol Family

Each year I'm honored to donate portrait packages to local charities to raise funds and bring awareness to critical issues that affect us all.  One such charity is Smiles for Survivors helmed by local dentist Dr. Olya Banchik, which aims to provide support for breast cancer patients and survivors.  Often times cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments develop oral side effects and one of the goals of Smiles for Survivors is to provide support and connect those patients to dentists and specialists to provide the appropriate restorative dental treatment.  

This year at their annual fundraising event, the winner of the Shalimar Studios portrait package was Michelle Champol, herself an employee in the dental field.  She was so excited to win the package that she called me the day after the event in October to book her session for December.  She wanted to make sure I could fit her in during the limited time frame her husband would be home from Afghanistan.  I looked at my calendar and the only date that worked for us both was December 30th, and so it was scheduled.  As I hung up the phone with Michelle, I could not help but feel incredibly grateful to be able to donate a package for such a great cause, but then for it to be used by a loving wife and her husband who she only sees once every 4 months.  Oh and did I mention they were bringing their 4 dogs to the session too?

Michelle and Greg opted for an in-studio session, and off we were with pit bull Gracie, along with the trio of rat terriers Lilly, Daisy and Mia for a fun-filled session full of laughs and hugs all around.  

What gorgeous smiles and expressions!  There is defnitely no shortage of happiness in this family.

Throughout the session we captured all the combinations, the whole family together, just the 4 dogs, individuals, and as you can see below, the 3 rat terriers Daisy, Mia and Lilly.  You can definitely see their distinct personalities here.

And Gracie just happened to photobomb this shot too.  I showed Michelle and Greg and we all could not stop laughing!  Even Lilly on the far right looks like she is complaining to Mom off camera about Gracie always runing the moment.

How can you not love those smiles!

And here is Gracie, the oldest, with the youngest of the group, Mia.  It's like big sister is protecting her little sister.

After seeing all her images from the session, Michelle opted to have custom Easter cards designed using her portraits from this session.  She chose the images and text, and I custom designed a folded 5×7 card for her.  We couldn't resist adding that hilarious photo bomb on the back of the card either!

Thanks again to Dr. Olya Banchik and Smiles for Survivors for putting on such a wonderful event, and introducing me to Michelle and her entire family.  I look forward to the event every year!


Art photography


Portrait, Branding, Fitness & Studio PHOTOGRAPHER

Fueled by equal parts Earl Grey tea and passion, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations on the front porch. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. I believe in images that are itching to be printed, placed in beautiful frames and hung on walls for years to come. 

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